HomeFootball NewsUS Coach Vlatko Andonovski Defends Team Amid Criticism After Draw Against Portugal

US Coach Vlatko Andonovski Defends Team Amid Criticism After Draw Against Portugal

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US coach Vlatko Andonovski responded passionately to criticism of his team’s commitment after their 0-0 draw against Portugal in the Women’s World Cup. Former American international soccer star Carli Lloyd had raised concerns about the team’s performance, but Andonovski dismissed the doubts, emphasizing the team’s determination to win.

Lloyd had remarked during the FOX broadcast that the “player of the match was that post,” referring to Portugal’s close encounter with the goalpost in the dying moments of the match. Despite this draw, the US team secured a place in the last 16, finishing as the runner-up in Group E.

During the post-game press conference, Andonovski expressed his disagreement with questioning the team’s mentality and willingness to compete, stating that such doubts were “insane.” He firmly believed in the commitment and spirit of his players, defending their dedication to success.

However, the coach acknowledged that the team’s performance against Portugal fell short of expectations, admitting they did not play well. The US team narrowly avoided an early exit from the tournament when substitute Ana Capeta’s shot hit the post in the closing minutes.

The Women’s World Cup group stage had its share of challenges for the US team. Despite securing a victory against Vietnam, their draws against the Netherlands and Portugal resulted in their worst-ever group stage performance at a World Cup, according to FIFA. The match against Portugal marked only the sixth time in the tournament’s history that the US failed to score.

In addition to the underwhelming results, it was the first time the US failed to win successive group stage matches in World Cup history. The defending champions faced the task of advancing with just five points from the group stageā€”a feat never achieved by a Women’s World Cup winner.

As the US team moves forward, they recognize the need to improve their performance. Experienced forward Megan Rapinoe acknowledged that the team’s displays were not up to their desired level, but they remained focused on finding their rhythm and cohesion.

The current US team boasts a blend of seasoned players like Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Kelley O’Hara, with multiple World Cup appearances, and younger talents like Sophia Smith, who made her World Cup debut. The integration of new and returning players may have contributed to the challenges they faced in the group stage.

Midfielder Julie Ertz highlighted the need for improved ball control and better teamwork, stressing the importance of providing more options for each other during matches.

Despite the less-than-ideal group stage results, the US team maintains a positive outlook and looks forward to the knockout stage. They are set to face Sweden, the current leaders of Group G, in the last 16. The players remain confident in their abilities to overcome any opponent, drawing strength from their past successes in the tournament.

The US team’s journey in the Women’s World Cup has been a testament to their resilience and consistency. While they understand the expectations that come with their legacy, they remain undaunted by the challenges ahead.

Andonovski’s team is determined to improve their performances and is optimistic about showcasing their true potential in the knockout rounds. Despite the suspension of Rose Lavelle for the round-of-16 game, the team remains steadfast in their pursuit of victory and aims to deliver an impressive display in the coming matches.

As the Women’s World Cup continues to unfold with thrilling encounters and surprises, the US team is ready to elevate their game and make their mark on the world stage once again.

 

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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